Food and Garden Dailies started as a way to record my family's favorite recipes. It has come in handy many times when I'm asked for a recipe. I simply email a link to the blog! But I couldn't just stick to recipes. The kitchen is tied to the garden in so many ways...and so I let you into my ever changing garden as well.

If you're interested in my all-time favorite recipes, check out this post first: My Favorite Recipes

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Prosciutto and Fontina-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

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One of the greatest culinary challenges I'm facing on Sabbatication, is that my food staples are quite limited. I don't have endless types of vinegar, spices, seasonings, etc. I have (literally):
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • cajun seasoning
  • crushed red pepper
  • seasoned salt
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • sesame oil
  • white wine vinegar
  • chardonnay
  • dijon mustard
  • soy sauce
  • hot sauce
  • garlic
I don't want to go out and buy a bunch of ingredients; I'd like to keep it simple. For those of you who know me well, keeping things simple is a challenge. When cooking, I use a lot of ingredients. I make my own sauces, and nearly everything is from scratch. So, I've been going through my tried and true recipes looking for foods that use what I have. I've checked out cookbooks and cooking magazines from the library (Yes, I know it's all on-line...I just love to flip through a bound publication.) perusing them for recipes that use these ingredients. The challenge I have is that I don't want it to all taste the same. I want variation!

Last week, I found a few recipes from Cooking Light, and made the first one last night. It's from the December 2008 issue (a GREAT issue by the way...found several recipes to add to my "To Try" file), Prosciutto and Fontina-Stuffed Chicken Breasts , p. 177.

I tripled the recipe, planning on making some to freeze for later, because I knew we'd like this one. The first thing I noticed was that the filling looked a little skimpy. I wasn't sure how I would have enough to stuff 12 chicken breasts with 2 TB of filling each. In the end, I added a bit more fontina (1 cup instead of 3/4 cup for a tripled batch), but I could have used a bit more.

The chicken breasts were HUGE, so I chopped each one in half (OK...that means they were really quartered, because they're already halved), and made a pocket in each piece. I only had enough filling for 10 of them. So, if I were to make this again (which I will) I'll make a bit more filling.

We had them for dinner last night and, OMG, they were delicious!! This will be the next entree I make for our meal exchange. I liked the simplicity and the fact that they'll freeze well. I love to have food like this ready-to-go in the freezer.

Right after I made them I learned that a friend's husband broke (really crushed!) his ankle yesterday and the whole family had been in the hospital all day. He came home today and I brought some chicken over for their family to eat. I LOVE having food on hand when someone's sick or in the hospital. I was especially glad that even in our little temporary digs, I was still able to help a friend!

Prosciutto and Fontina-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 ounce chopped prosciutto
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded fontina cheese
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 42 saltine crackers (about 1 sleeve)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add prosciutto to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until browned. Add rosemary and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Spoon prosciutto mixture into a bowl; cool to room temperature. Stir in fontina cheese; set aside.

2. Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 2 tablespoons prosciutto mixture into each pocket; press lightly to flatten. Sprinkle chicken evenly with pepper.

3. Place crackers in a food processor; process 2 minutes or until finely ground. Place cracker crumbs in a shallow dish. Place flour in another shallow dish. Combine egg whites and mustard in another shallow dish, stirring mixture with a whisk.

4. Working with one chicken breast half at a time, dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Dip chicken into egg white mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Coat chicken completely with cracker crumbs. Set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken, flour, egg white mixture, and cracker crumbs.

5. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add oil* to pan, swirling to coat. Add chicken to pan; reduce heat to medium**, and cook 10 minutes on each side or until browned and done.

Calories: 381 (33% from fat) Fat: 14g (sat 3g,mono 6.4g,poly 2.9g) Protein: 46.6g Carbohydrate: 14.1g Fiber: 0.6g Cholesterol: 113mg Iron: 2.4mg Sodium: 591mg Calcium: 74mg
*I also added a smidge of butter. I think foods brown better with a bit of butter.
**Medium might be a bit high. If the outside is browning too quickly (which happened to me at first) make sure you turn down the heat a bit. You want a nice golden brown

Ready to flash freeze ----------->

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